Judd Trump and Ricky Walden will contest the final of the China Open after emerging from contrasting last four encounters on Saturday.
Trump produced some superb snooker, as well as riding his luck a little, to hammer Stephen Maguire 6-0.
Earlier, Walden was made to work a lot harder for his close 6-5 victory over John Higgins.
For both Englishmen, there is an opportunity to collect their first ranking event titles of the campaign in the penultimate event on the calendar.
Walden, of course, featured in the final of last week’s Players Championship only to eventually be downed by Northern Ireland’s Mark Allen.
That the 33 year-old has been able to sustain his form despite only making the long flight from Manchester to Beijing on Monday is testament to how well he is cueing the ball of late.
That was never more evident that in his deciding frame against Higgins when, despite being seated as the four-time world champion came from 5-3 down to force the shoot-out, Walden coolly knocked in a superb 131 to seal successive spots in finals.
He’ll be desperate to make amends for last week’s mini capitulation, where he went from being 3-1 ahead of Allen to 7-3 down, before eventually losing 10-6.
Walden’s best memories come in China, though, with all three of his ranking event successes hailing from the Far East nation.
A China Open triumph would add to his previous titles captured in the Shanghai Masters, Wuxi Classic and International Championship.
The Shanghai Masters is in fact where Trump’s best ranking event performance came this season when he was narrowly defeated by Kyren Wilson.
Trump has looked excellent in spells during the last 12 months but has developed a nasty habit of losing too many encounters that he ought to have won – perhaps indicative of why he has failed to land any more trophies other than the Championship League.
When in among the balls he sometimes appears as if he cant miss, before he unexpectedly does which can throw the outcome of entire matches into doubt.
Trump announced himself into the big-time when he won the China Open five years ago and victory on Sunday could launch a very realistic chance of a maiden crowning at the Crucible next month.
Tomorrow’s two finalists have met on ten occasions but seven of those have been played behind closed doors in the short formatted Championship League.
In events carrying ranking points, the head-to-head is 2-1 in favour of 26 year-old Trump but the last of those clashes came almost two years ago.
As always, the best of 19 frame final will hinge first on who can make the better start in the opening session before, second, whether or not that competitor can subsequently hold his nerve until the contest’s conclusion.
Both men have been scoring heavily so this final could be as much about who can compete more strongly in the safety department.
Either way, it promises to be an entertaining affair while coverage is live on Eurosport and selected betting websites.
Categories: Snooker News